"Move over tomato ketchup, barbecue sauce, and mayonnaise," says cookbook author and recipe developer Lara Lee. "There's a new condiment-that-goes-with-everything in town!" Meet Tamarind-Chile Jam, a one-pot wonder that is sweet, spicy, sour, sharp, tangy, and pungent all at once. Savory, funky fish sauce balances the fruity sourness of the tamarind, while long red chiles add a pleasantly strong piquancy to this thick and sticky jam. Its uses are endless; spread it on a sandwich, serve it alongside sausage rolls, dollop it over eggs, dunk sweet potato wedges into it, or use it as a condiment for meat, chicken, or fish. For those who are heat adverse, seed the chiles before adding them for a milder jam. Use a wide, deep saucepan for faster reduction time—be careful of splattering jam—and take the pot off the heat as soon as the jam has reduced to 1 1/2 cups; it will continue to thicken as it cools.

May 2022


Credit: Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Melissa Grey / Prop Styling by Lydia Pursell

Recipe Summary

2 hrs 10 mins
20 mins
Makes about 1 1/2 cups


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Pulse tomatoes, chiles, ginger, and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped and well combined, about 8 pulses. Transfer mixture to a medium saucepan. Stir in sugar, 3 tablespoons tamarind water, vinegar, fish sauce, and star anise.

  • Bring to a boil over medium-high, stirring constantly to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching, until jam is thickened and reduced to about 1 1/2 cups, 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes.

  • Remove mixture from heat; stir in remaining 1 teaspoon tamarind water. Let cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. 


Associated RecipeTamarind Water

Make Ahead

Store jam in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 1 month.